CSR in Germany Part II – Future of CSR in Germany

In my first post about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Germany a while back now, I talked about the three key developments in CSR over the past few years.

Todays post is about the three major future developments phases I see for CSR in Germany. I have worked in the CSR field for a while now and being German I obviously always felt close to the Germany and as a consequence watched the CSR developments unfold over the past few years with interest.

One Big Challenge
There is one big hurdle for a continuous successful adoption of CSR practices for Germany in my opinion. The current financial crisis. Why? Well many reasons but I think the biggest problem with CSR practices within an organization will be the lack of funds within a business to start their CSR activities. In the wake of the restructuring of departments within businesses will the CSR budgets suffer as well. This is obviously not only a German problem.

But CSR as with every corporate change process needs sufficient initial funding to get of the ground. So lets hope, for the sake of the German CSR initiatives (and all CSR activities/budgets across the globe), that this financial crisis will not last that long anymore or that the German public will realize that CSR is a key element of the future of their business environment and demand increased CSR investment from business.

Once this crisis is behind us I am of the opinion that CSR practices in Germany will undergo three major development phases in terms of CSR practice.

The three major future development phases for CSR in Germany

  • More and more companies will be hearing about CSR and CSR best practice across the globe. German companies can be slow to adopt new business practices sometimes. The level of skepticism is traditionally quite high in German business. This has always been the case and can be regarded as both good and bad in my opinion. As a result the major companies in the main German share index, DAX 30, will be likely to all report on their CSR practices. This development will then also be an important driver for the adoption of CSR  by more and more smaller companies.
  • CSR as a term will be more closely aligned with Environmentalism and move towards Sustainability, not just CSR itself. Environmentalism is traditionally very big in Germany and ingrained in the German culture. The likelihood that CSR and Environmentalism will be combined into the overall concept of Sustainability is very high. You might ask yourself why this is the second major development phase but definitions have a big importance in the German way to do business so to say. Once the terminology is agreed the German mentality is usually to move on and focus on the next phase of Sustainability.
  • Once there are more people/businesses involved and the political establishment will have realized that this is something they need to support, then Sustainability (CSR and Environmentalism) will be a key element in the sustainable future for German business. This is the special aspect about German business. Once they decide on doing something they usually get on with it and do not question the decision made. A really good cultural trait in my opinion.

These are the three major development phases I see in German business with regards to CSR. But this is only my point of view and judgement of course. I am more then happy to hear other points of views. Not only the German point of view of course but other cultural contexts in adopting CSR.

Picture Credit: Arenamontanus

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  1. I think the language most businesses understand all too well is profit. As soon as they realize that sustainability and CSR is not only about "creating a better world", but that it actually means looking for synergies and win-win-win opportunities all around the operation (like producing less waste = paying less money), then they will automatically start with a whole range of techno fixes. The other driver is consumers. Plattforms such as <a href="http://www.utopia.de” target=”_blank”>www.utopia.de gain huge momentum and might influence a company's sales results just as much as bad press coverage will.

  2. Thanks for the comment Florian. I agree that there is more to Sustainability then just creating a better world. I also think that this is a great common denominator to get people from different backgrounds to agree in principle that they have the same goal.I like the Utopia platform but I have not heard the best things about it I must admit. But putting this aside. What do you think is the impact it has at the moment?

  3. Thanks for the comment Florian. I agree that there is more to Sustainability then just creating a better world. I also think that this is a great common denominator to get people from different backgrounds to agree in principle that they have the same goal.I like the Utopia platform but I have not heard the best things about it I must admit. But putting this aside. What do you think is the impact it has at the moment?

  4. Thanks for the comment Florian. I agree that there is more to Sustainability then just creating a better world. I also think that this is a great common denominator to get people from different backgrounds to agree in principle that they have the same goal.I like the Utopia platform but I have not heard the best things about it I must admit. But putting this aside. What do you think is the impact it has at the moment?

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